Nordic ministers for the labour market: “A just green transition is essential if the Nordic Region is to achieve the objectives of its vision”

30.11.23 | News
Arbetslivsministrar på möte i Reykjavik
Björn Lindahl/

Carsten Sander, office manager, Ministry of Employment, Denmark; Ellen Bakken, secretary of state, Norway; Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Minister of Social Affairs and the Labour Market, Iceland; Johan Pehrson, Minister of the Labour Market and Integration, Swede; Karen Ellemann, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers; Arto Satonen, Minister of Employment, Finland.

No one must be left behind as the Nordics pursue the green transition. This was the main message at the meeting of the Nordic ministers for the labour market in Reykjavik on 30 November. In connection with the meeting, a Nordic tripartite dialogue will also be organised around the theme of a just green transition.

“Today we discussed priorities for how the Nordic labour market can help to achieve our vision of the Nordic Region being the most sustainable and integrated region in the world by 2030. A just green transition is a key component in these efforts,” says Iceland’s Minister of Social Affairs and the Labour Market Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, who hosted the meeting.

Historic tripartite meeting

On 1 December, representatives from governments and workers’ and employers’ organisations from all the Nordic countries will gather in Reykjavik to engage in dialogue on how best to ensure that the green transition is pursued fairly. A new report by the Nordic Council of Ministers’ institution Nordregio will form the basis for the discussions.

“The timing is perfect for coming together for a tripartite conference - the green transition has already started and climate change is happening right now and it’s waiting for no one,” says Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson.

Cross-border mobility

Climate change demands that every aspect of society contributes to a more sustainable future, and this applies also to the labour market. A key component in how the Nordic Region can tackle the transition is the issue of cross-border mobility.

“At our meeting today, a new report from the Freedom of Movement Council was mentioned. The report states that simplified tax rules should make it easier for both residents and companies in the Nordics to move between and work in the different countries. In this way, we could have a more integrated labour market which would also be more economically beneficial. This is exciting!” says Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson.

Restructuring is needed

Digitalisation, artificial intelligence, and new technology will give rise to major changes and require restructuring and new skills among both individual workers and companies. The collective framework with a contract-based labour market, which is one of the cornerstones of the Nordic welfare model, must also keep up with the times.

The Nordic Region’s ageing population is also placing new demands on the availability of labour, while the geopolitical situation is giving rise to new threats. The ministers also state that, in this social climate, the Nordic countries should ensure that as many employees as possible have a good working climate and ensure that gender equality is also taken into account.